Damn Interesting:

There is an Austrian doctor who has gained notoriety by advocating the picking of one's nose and the consumption of the resulting bounty, particularly in children. Dr. Friedrich Bischinger, a lung specialist working in Innsbruck, would have us believe that people who pick their noses with their fingers are healthier, happier, and more in tune with their bodies. His argument stems from the notion that exposing the body to the dried germ corpses helps to reinforce the immune system. The good doctor feels that society should adopt a new approach to nose-picking, and encourage children to take up the habit.

A doctor claims that eating your nose harvest strengthens your immune system and makes you more healthy. Is there any truth to this claim?

  • 14
    Can we add "Ewwww... gross" Vote-to-Close reason? :)
    – user5341
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 15:42
  • 3
    the stomach acids can take care of a lot of stuff, congealed nasal fluid included Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 20:16
  • 9
    Surely the amount of mucus that naturally drains from your sinuses dwarfs the volume that can be moved from nose to mouth? Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 20:40
  • 4
    Looks like a good suggestion for mythbusters. Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 4:14
  • 5
    Poor Adam and Jamie.
    – JYelton
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


A search of PubMed articles using keywords "booger," "muchoid," "nasal discharges," and even "rhinotillexis" yields absolutely zero results that could support the cited blog post.

Reputable medical research does however caution against nose picking. In an article in the Journal of the National Medical Association by Albert Seltzer, who writes that:

The physician is frequently concerned with the harmful effects of meddling with the nose. Into the office of the general practitioner, the pediatrician, and the nose and throat specialist come literally countless patients with disease and injury to the delicate tissues of the nose resulting from injudicious probing with the tip of the fingernail.

Even more seriously, a study in the 1992 issue of Psychological Medicine concludes that "Later-onset AD [Alzheimers Disease] was found to be positively associated with starvation/malnutrition and with nose-picking."

In short, Dr. Bischinger (mentioned in the linked article) has provided us with zero evidence for his assertions. He has not published his findings in a peer review journal, nor do other studies support his conclusions. The eating part is therefore dubious.

By contrast the dangers of nose-picking are well-documented, and must outweigh any supposed gastrointestinal benefits of ingesting mucus.

Please note that this answer does not constitute medical advice. It is only meant to summarize published research related to the topic and limited the cited sources. Consult your physician about what these results may mean for your health.

  • 1
    Nice, but too circumstantial... :-)
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 20:46
  • 1
    That's the best we can do with pseudo-science. There is nothing to cite about the non-existence of unicorns. The lack of direct evidence is exactly the point.
    – denten
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 14:46
  • You haven't proven there is no research, though.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 14:55
  • How do you prove the non-existence of something? Let's take this to meta.
    – denten
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 16:16
  • 1
    There is already a thread on negative proof here, with your edits!
    – denten
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 16:27

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